Sunday, October 13, 2013
A Meeting in the Middle
It is 635 miles between Westby, Montana and Alberton, Montana. It’s a bit farther (665 miles) if you count the distance between the Grenora, North Dakota and St. Regis, Montana. As it turned out, it was only 434 miles from Westby to Reed Point and a mere 314 miles from Alberton to Reed Point.
One MonDak fan traveling from Grenora said he made the drive in about seven hours, but he also picked up a speeding ticket in Fairview on the way.
Nevertheless, it was only 121 miles for me—just a little over two hours which included a coffee and fuel stop in Red Lodge.
I was curious about this game not only because both teams brought stellar records to the contest, but I wanted to know how this game materialized in the first place when schedules were put together last spring. After asking a few questions to those in the know, I discovered the rationale wasn’t as mysterious as I had dreamed.
It really came down to filling a bye week and both teams were facing byes at the same time. In particular, Clark Fork hails from the understaffed Western Conference with only six teams. As a result, even with one out-of-conference, regular-season game, Western teams would end up with two byes in their schedule unless they were willing to consider some “creative scheduling” as Clark Fork engineered with MonDak.
I wrote an earlier post about how teams from years and years ago may have met halfway and played football in a middle-of-nowhere wheat field. I’m not sure how much truth there is regarding such folklore since I’ve never been presented with any particulars. Nonetheless, the Clark Fork vs MonDak showdown might be a modern-day version of such meetings. Thanks to improvements in communications and transportation, it will never have to be as primitive either.
Postscript: In true rugby fashion, the twenty-eight members of the MonDak football team wear jerseys that are numbered one through twenty-eight. There’s no one playing center wearing number fifty-three, or a defensive tackle wearing number seventy-five.
And twenty-eight is a formidable roster for a six-man football team.